What My Hospice means is different to each individual and family we serve. For Jillian Jackson at Seasons Hospice, it means sharing her passion for hospice with Members of Congress and policymakers.

In a recent meeting with Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Jillian had the opportunity to talk about Medicare’s first coordinated care model and why we must protect the services provided under the Medicare Hospice Benefit:

In an incredibly diverse and rapidly changing society, Medicare faces the challenge of determining which policy regulations should govern hospice and palliative care. Congress has a responsibility to make sure the scope of those regulations fit the needs of the hospice community and the patients they serve, so that anyone, no matter their location has access to this valuable care system. While Congress has their responsibility, hospice providers have the opportunity to educate lawmakers on the specific issues and policy changes needed. Fortunately, my team at Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care in Delaware was given this chance. During the August recess, our team members had an impactful conversation and visit with Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. Our interactions with the Congresswoman’s office began at the Hospice Action Network’s advocacy day this spring, where I invited her to come visit our program. Our time here in Newark, Delaware was similar to many others happening through the My Hospice Congressional Roundtable program.

During the visit, we led a personal and candid conversation about the importance and value of hospice care in Delaware while also raising concerns and support of recent policies with the Congresswoman and her staff.

Representative Rochester toured our inpatient unit and at moments throughout the visit, she was deeply touched. After we provided a brief overview of how the Medicare Hospice Benefit provides care to individuals in Delaware, and more specifically to our inpatient unit, the Congresswoman joined our board-certified music therapist for a visit with one of our patients.

We also had the opportunity to raise concerns for policy issues like the need for Congressional oversight of the Medicare Advantage VBID pilot process and a proposed 2% cut to hospice.

At the conclusion of the visit, Rep. Rochester conveyed deep respect and gratitude for the work of hospice teams here in Delaware. She specifically commented that music therapy facilitated an essential process in the goal of achieving comfort. She also expressed a desire to see increased investment by Medicare in the bereavement component of hospice care.

Overall, connecting with Representative Rochester was very encouraging for our team and left each of us hopeful for ongoing dialogue with her and her staff about the needs and value of hospice care in our community.

We invite you to keep promoting the power of hospice by joining the My Hospice campaign. Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter, or share your My Hospice story with us.